It’s Freedom Day. I have mixed feelings. But whenever I am frustrated that things are nowhere near where they should be, I am reminded of this:
My gay friends have better marriages than mine ever was. They don’t ever have to pretend to be anyone other than who they are.
One of the things that separates me from many black South Africans is an interest in rugby.
I have been in five relationships that would have been illegal under apartheid. I am engaged to someone who is a different race.
Poverty and inequality still loom over us, but there are no rules that tell us who may be friends with whom, or who may love whom, and those are good things.
There are sex scenes and swearing in the movies, and we’re allowed to see and hear them.
I can go “into” a township if I like. (There was a time when that wasn’t allowed.)
I can put up an art exhibition critical of the president and the government and not face the threat of being banned. I can collect insults and make jokes, and – risk of a Twitter pile on aside –
I don’t have PW Botha staring down at me wherever I go. There are no relief posters of limpet mines.
I can go shopping and be shallow with my fellow South Africans are all races and creeds.
TV is a lot better since the days of the SAUK, or so I believe. (I don’t watch much TV.)
My South African passport isn’t welcome in most parts of the world, but then that’s nothing new.
And yes, I’ve learned to be afraid of the police, as black South Africans were under apartheid.
But I’m of this place and for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, I am here.
Here’s to freedom. Quisque suos patimer manes.